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What are some techniques to get me up to speed with German grammar and sentence structure?

I am not great with the "official" terms of parts of sentences. (For example, "infinitive" and "preposition" confuse me.) I know what these concepts are, once I see a few good examples though.

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5 Answers 5

Read Modern German grammar, it has everything about grammar that you need to know. It has sentence structure part and a section about propositions, regional differences also included.

If you want to learn it more quickly, read German quickly. This is a free version of it that you can download.

Once you've finished reading one of them, you need to practice , practice and practice. (if you mean "cheats" by "techniques" to learn grammar faster then skip my answer!)

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The "German quickly" link is broken. –  nibot Mar 1 '12 at 21:31
    
@nibot: Right, they've removed it. Thank you for pointing that out. –  user508 Mar 1 '12 at 22:42

For me, learning English grammar worked out best by reading English books. I developed a feeling for the right grammar. It really kind of hurts me, when I hear a wrong English sentence. I'm not perfect, I know. But I think, I've got quit a good inner "ear" for English grammar. I can only give you the advice to read as much German text as you can. Even if you don't know each vocabulary, you get into the "flow" of the language.

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I have made the very same experience with French. I did do some exercises but by far not as many as you would do in a course. I read a lot of books, and I read them out loud to myself and although I have never really spent time in France I get compliments whenever I speak... so READ READ READ and as far as I am concerned... do not read newspapers. It is dense language and you have little to now context. I have seen people fluent in German in despair over an article :) –  Emanuel Mar 1 '12 at 20:52

If you are looking for a quick reference, I like this little thing I've found. I think you can download it, but I have no trouble reading it on the site.

It is for "grammatical emergencies," though, so they assume you know the basics, like what an infinitive is. Still, you can check it out and see if the examples and cheatsheets shown make sense to you. I, personally, find it extremely useful, but to each his own. Hope it helps someone! :)

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This is a good question. All the answers so far gives you grammar references, but you need something like a pedagogical grammar course with exercises. I have no ready-made course, but the following suggestion might be helpful.

I used the Grimm Grammar by the university of Texas to get up to speed in German grammar. It has lots of articles about most aspects of German grammar. The articles are all pedagogical, unpretentious, with lots of examples and even some exercises. The problem is that they don't suggest any order for their lessons; if you follow it from top to bottom you will be an expert on German adjective declination before even having seen a German pronoun! But if you carefully choose which lessons you want to read this is a great resource.

The website Deutsch-lernen claims to have a free German grammar course, but it is nothing more than glorified declination tables. It might give you an idea of in which order you want to read the "Grimm grammar" though.

If you find a good way or some good resources to learn German grammar, remember that you are allowed to answer your own questions. ;-)

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The little thing mentioned by kitukwyfer above is "Emergency German Grammar", a document of 8 pages that I have found quite useful as an advanced beginner. Unfortunately Scribd requires a subscription to download it, but you can get it for free by using this link http://www.scribd.com/mobile/documents/2671217/download?commit=Download+Now&secret_password%20=

This download link was created by using the directions described here

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